Calls for increased cycling infrastructure during the pandemic
There have been calls for the government to temporarily put in place cycling and walking infrastructure during the coronavirus lockdown and beyond. In an open letter, key figures in cycling and the NHS called on the government to encourage local authorities to convert underused roads into temporary cycle lanes and racing tracks to ease concerns of social distancing.
The letter calls for these changes to help key workers who increasingly rely on active transportation to get to work, rather than public transportation, in order to avoid contracting the virus.
He also called for these temporary infrastructure changes to remain in place once lockdown restrictions are lifted to reduce the risk of a “second wave influx of coronavirus cases”.
Written by Brompton CEO Will Butler-Adams and co-signed by six other cycling, walking and NHS organizations, it was addressed to Cycling and Walking Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP.
While noting the government’s statement confirming that local authorities could convert its roads into temporary cycling infrastructure, he called for more action.
“Our organizations, however, invite you to go further and provide a clear and positive ministerial statement encouraging local road authorities to consider implementing such temporary initiatives.” the letter indicates.
“This would give local authorities the confidence to quickly implement measures, allowing safe cycling and walking within government guidelines for social distancing.”
âFrom talking to colleagues in the NHS, we know that these measures would have a positive impact by encouraging more health workers to cycle to work and would have the added benefit of providing safe segregation or traffic protection automobile. “
The letter also cited countries like Canada and Germany that have already successfully implemented temporary infrastructure changes to help increase the number of cyclists and walkers.
In addition to helping essential workers get to work safely, Butler-Adams also said the measures could help increase the number of people walking and cycling in line with health recommendations. government public.
Co-signed by figures such as British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington and Dr Ian Basnett, director of public health at Barts Health NHS Trust, he also calls for these infrastructure changes to be sustained once blockages are eased.
âAfter the current lockdown restrictions, a large part of the British population will move to cities again, but will be reluctant to use public transport where the risk of transmission is higher,â Butler-Adams wrote.
“In order to mitigate against a second wave influx of coronavirus cases, we believe it is prudent to plan ahead and implement these temporary measures now for key workers, but also to empower the population in the broad sense of moving by bike or on foot in the short term as a lockout lifting restrictions. ‘
Butler-Adams’ Brompton Company has been active in helping alleviate travel concerns for healthcare workers during the coronavirus lockdown.
After launching crowdfunding earlier in the month, Brompton is on track to produce 1,000 bikes that are to be temporarily loaned to NHS workers for commuting during the pandemic.
Additionally, Cycling UK offered free membership to all NHS staff.